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  1. #1
    Since 1979 Das Texan's Avatar
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    I am stealing this from a baseball board I belong to. I'm hoping the insightful will add to this discussion here.


    Are wins the most overrated pitching stat out there?


    Discuss.

  2. #2
    Since 1979 Das Texan's Avatar
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    Personally, I think this goes to the whole traditionalist v moneyball arguement.


    I still maintain that wins are the most important stat for a starting pitcher out of all other stats available.

  3. #3
    Still Hates Small Ball Spurminator's Avatar
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    I think they're somewhat overrated, but not as overrated as saves.

  4. #4
    Still Hates Small Ball Spurminator's Avatar
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    I don't really mind the rules regarding Win stats for starting pitchers, but I've always thought the criteria for a reliever getting a win was out of whack. A starter must pitch a full 5 innings to qualify, but a reliever can get a win even if he pitches 1/3rd of an inning and gives up 10 runs (provided his team scores 11 the next inning.) And if a starter pitches 4 2/3rds of a game, leaves while his team is winning, and the team holds on for the win... the Win is awarded more arbitrarily than the "Game Ball."

  5. #5
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    Wins are only partially dependent upon things within the pitcher's control, so I'd say that they are overrated. The nature of baseball makes pitchers facilitators. Pitchers by definition cannot win games for their teams (well, other than those who are good hitters) but they can lose games. But the W/L success of a pitcher depends on so many other factors -- did his team get timely hitting and score runs? did they play good defense behind him? did his bullpen close out the game?

    A pitcher who left every game after 9 innings with the score tied at zero would undoubtedly be a great pitcher, but he'd never win. Same with a pitcher who leaves every game after 8 with a 2 run lead, but his team loses games because a closer goes nuclear in the 9th. Meanwhile, a pitcher who survives 5 innings every start and leaves with his team leading 10-9, might get a lot of wins if his team's bullpen is fantastic, but would be a terrible pitcher.

    I don't think it's a traditionalist v. moneyball issue at all -- traditionalist v. moneyball in the pitching context is the difference between valuing ERA over Defense Independent Pitching Stats (DIPS). This is a question of how you best quantify pitching success. When complete games were the norm, you could (at least to an extent) rely on a pitcher's winning percentage to give you some idea about his success/prowess. But as the game has evolved, the relevance of wins for any individual pitcher has diminished.

  6. #6
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    Personally, I think this goes to the whole traditionalist v moneyball arguement.


    I still maintain that wins are the most important stat for a starting pitcher out of all other stats available.
    Wins are important, but you have to consider how good the team is that the pitcher is pitching for. A 20 game winner on great team isn't necessarily better than a 20 game loser on a horrible team.

  7. #7
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    the Win is awarded more arbitrarily than the "Game Ball."
    And the "Hold" is more arbitrary, still, since a pitcher can get a hold without having any real success at all. To me, the hold is THE most overrated pitching statistic, with saves and wins coming right behind.

  8. #8
    Still Hates Small Ball Spurminator's Avatar
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    I still haven't accepted the Hold as an actual statistic... I think it's more of a fad.

  9. #9
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    I still haven't accepted the Hold as an actual statistic... I think it's more of a fad.
    I agree. It's the new millenium equivalent of the completely worthless GWRBI number from the 80's.

  10. #10
    License to Lillard tlongII's Avatar
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    ERA is the most significant pitching stat.

  11. #11
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    ERA is the most significant pitching stat.
    see, I can't agree with that either. A pitcher could have a great era, but still give up boatloads of runs, defeating the fundamental purpose of the game.

    I'd think the most significant pitching stat is some function of baserunners allowed and baserunners scored per 9 IP. A guy who allows very few baserunners (WHIP)(somewhere around 1.00 to 1.10 per inning) and allows a very small percentage of those runners to score (around 2-3 per game), whether those runs are earned or not, is going to be generally very successful in virtually ever phase. And a high WHIP isn't fatal to a pitcher's success as much as a high percentage of runners scored is, but the two would seem to go hand-in-hand in most instances.

  12. #12
    Lottery Pick Blazer16's Avatar
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    Hey y'all, what is a Hold?

  13. #13
    It's 11:46...and OU STILL sucks!!!!! jalbre6's Avatar
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    Fundamentally, what is a pitcher's job? To get batters out. Be it via strikeout, fly, or grounder. All a win shows is that your team scored more than the other one. ERA is a loaded stat because unearned runs will still cost you.

    I'd guess that a true sign of pitching strength is to divide batters faced, first subtracting fielding errors for all positions except catcher and pitcher, by outs recorded, . (i.e. Joe Schmoe pitched a nine inning W, with three walks, four hits, and two errors by the SS. So he faced 27+3+4-2=32. 27 divided by 32=0.843. Larry Schmoe got lit up in 5 2/3rd's, with nine hits, three walks, and a passed ball. 17+9+3+1= 30. 17 / 30 = 0.566) I'm sure some seamhead already has a variable of this working.

    Baseball is way too quirky to have an absolute statistic on pitching strength. Too many factors from night to night, park to park.

  14. #14
    Fantasy Football Guru Guru of Nothing's Avatar
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    Paychecks are the most important stat. Just kidding.

    I'm sure Nolan Ryan thought wins were overrated the year he went 8-16 while leading the league in E.R.A. and strikeouts.

  15. #15
    Who is this guy, again? travis2's Avatar
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    A pitcher could have a great era, but still give up boatloads of runs, defeating the fundamental purpose of the game.
    ERA is a loaded stat because unearned runs will still cost you.


    I think some 'splainin' is due here. These statements make no sense to me whatsoever.

  16. #16
    Still Hates Small Ball Spurminator's Avatar
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    Runs given up after errors or through inherited runners do not affect a pitcher's ERA.

    So, for instance, if a reliver comes into the game with the bases loaded and gives up a double, the runs count against the ERA of the pitcher who put those runners on.

    Also, if an error is made with two outs in the inning, all subsequent runs given up that inning are unearned and do not affect the pitcher's ERA. Even if the pitcher gives up a homerun five batters later.

  17. #17
    Who is this guy, again? travis2's Avatar
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    Ah, OK...that's possible. But that sort of thing happening a lot without eventually coming back to bite that pitcher in the ass is pretty unlikely.

    There's another pseudo-stat to help with that as well, as I remember...at least for the inherited runners problem...

  18. #18
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    Ah, OK...that's possible. But that sort of thing happening a lot without eventually coming back to bite that pitcher in the ass is pretty unlikely.

    There's another pseudo-stat to help with that as well, as I remember...at least for the inherited runners problem...
    My issue with ERA isn't just with inherited runners. ERA doesn't account for all of the runs a pitcher allows -- it only accounts for runs that the pitcher allows without any intervening errors. It's premise is well-founded -- that a pitcher should not be punished statistically for the inadequacies of those around him -- but in practice, the statistic doesn't paint a clear picture of the pitcher's effectiveness.

    Say Pitcher X starts his game by facing Batter 1, who reaches on an error (a subjective determination made by the official scorer). If pitcher X allows Batter 2, Batter 3, Batter 4, Batter 5, Batter 6, Batter 7, Batter 8, and gets out Batter 9 on a sacrifice fly, with runs scoring after 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, the pitcher's line would look like this:

    IP: 1/3
    H: 7
    R: 6
    ER: 0
    ERA: 0.00

    It's obviously an extreme example, but accounting for the extremes are part of what makes the valuation of a particular measure valid. In the example, Pitcher X is obviously not effective, but his ERA would be stellar. Assume that the scorer calls the ball hit by Batter 1 a hit, though, and Pitcher X's line looks like this:

    IP: 1/3
    H: 8
    R: 6
    ER: 6
    ERA: 180.00

    A stark difference, wouldn't you say?

    The limited value of ERA as a measure is complicated by the inherited runners problem -- when a reliever allows runners left by Pitcher X to score -- because Pitcher X is penalized for Reliever's inability to get subsequent batters out. The inherited runners statistic generally only relates to the Reliever's success in stranding runners that he inherits and isn't broadly used to determine how many of the runs allowed by Pitcher X were scored because of success against Reliever.

    For all of those reasons, I don't put much stock in any pitcher's ERA.

    I'd generally agree with the notion that pitching success is substantially harder to quantify in a time with such specialization of roles and the complete game becoming more and more of an endangered species. This thread started as a "traditional stats v. moneyball" discussion (I think). I don't necessary agree that rethinking statistics is a moneyball phenomenon, but I do think that changing times require new measures of productivity. The means of measuring pitching productivity in baseball are achaic right now because traditional measures place too much emphasis on what the pitcher's teammates do.

  19. #19
    Who is this guy, again? travis2's Avatar
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    I understood what you were talking about.

    My point is that, at least for starting pitchers and some long-relievers, the ERA would more appropriately reflect their skill once the season had progressed a reasonable amount.

    Sure, your example is extreme...and real...but what is the pitcher's ERA after 5 appearances? 10 appearances? If the pitcher is any good, the blip you show as your second example will be smoothed out. On the other hand, if the first example is more representative, then it strains credulity to believe that most of his outings would look like that, leaving him with a filet-mignon ERA on a salisbury steak arm. On the contrary, the odds are that he would f**k up in situations where his ERA would actually show the damage.

  20. #20
    Get Refuel! FromWayDowntown's Avatar
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    I don't disagree -- the truth tends to come out in the wash, but I still don't buy that ERA accurately discloses that truth.

  21. #21
    Player To Be Named Later
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    A starter must pitch a full 5 innings to qualify, but a reliever can get a win even if he pitches 1/3rd of an inning and gives up 10 runs (provided his team scores 11 the next inning.)
    the reliever could potentially get that win but probably wouldn't, the rule states that the official scorer should give the win to the most effective reliever after the team took the lead and kept it, so likely the win would go to the pitcher after him assuming he pitched fairly well, assuming the official scorer is not a moron.

  22. #22
    Player To Be Named Later
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    Say Pitcher X starts his game by facing Batter 1, who reaches on an error (a subjective determination made by the official scorer). If pitcher X allows Batter 2, Batter 3, Batter 4, Batter 5, Batter 6, Batter 7, Batter 8, and gets out Batter 9 on a sacrifice fly, with runs scoring after 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, the pitcher's line would look like this:

    IP: 1/3
    H: 7
    R: 6
    ER: 0
    ERA: 0.00
    as far as i understand it, if somethin like that occurred, he would most like get 1 of those runs as unearned, the runner who got on base due to the error. but if that error happened with 2 outs then he allowed 6 runs after that, then all would be unearned. you have to recontruct the inning without the errors to determine earned and unearned runs.

  23. #23
    Still Hates Small Ball Spurminator's Avatar
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    the reliever could potentially get that win but probably wouldn't, the rule states that the official scorer should give the win to the most effective reliever after the team took the lead and kept it, so likely the win would go to the pitcher after him assuming he pitched fairly well, assuming the official scorer is not a moron.
    That's only if several relievers pitched a game that their team led the whole time. If a team "takes" the lead, whoever was the last pitcher on the mound for them is up for the win.

    So if Turk Wendell comes into a 1-1 game and gives up 8 runs in the 8th inning, but finishes the inning... then the Phillies score 10 runs in the top of the ninth and Billy Wagner comes on to save the game, Turk Wendell gets the win.

  24. #24
    Player To Be Named Later
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    that would also be one of an exciting ending.

  25. #25
    I Got Hops Extra Stout's Avatar
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    If a pitcher leaves the game up 5-4, and then his team scores three runs to go up 8-4, and wins 8-7, he gets a win.

    If a pitcher leaves the game up 5-4, but then his team falls behind 6-5 but rallies to win 8-7, he gets no decision.

    This is but one example of the arcane rules behind awarding pitching wins that degrade the stat into oblivion. It's so 19th century.

    Wins mean little. A mediocre pitcher on a great offensive team can rack up 15 wins easily.

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